"Yep, the Roberts’ household was pretty awe-struck
when our daughter pulled this one out of her arsenal."
All Hallows Eve
by Victoria Robert
October is this Celtic Guide author’s favorite month of the year. With ghosts, goblins, and things that go bump in the night, October 31st is a constant reminder that I’m another year older.
You heard that right. Halloween is my birthday. Now stop right there. I know what you’re thinking.
Believe me when I say, I’ve heard all the jokes known to man. I may be a witch, but I’m certainly a good witch.
Like many festivals abroad, Samhain continued with the coming of Christianity. All Saints Day is November 1st in honor of the saints, known and unknown. It’s only fitting that the day before All Saints Day is called All Hallows Eve. We know the typical Halloween festivities consist of trick-or-treating, costume parties, carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples, pulling pranks, visiting haunted houses, telling scary stories, and let’s not forget watching horror movies. The Exorcist still scares me to death!
For the most part, I did all of the above, even pranks. In my younger days, my friends (who were mostly boys) and I would go corning and tapping.
Corning consisted of grabbing a handful of uncooked popcorn kernels and hurling them at the siding of houses—no windows. Author note: Corning does not work on brick houses! When the houses were corned, it gave the occupants quite a fright, but other than the loud crackling sound, didn’t harm a thing.
Tapping consisted of fastening a fishing line and sinker to the front door of an unsuspecting neighbor and hiding behind a conveniently placed shrub. When the fishing line was pulled, the sinker would knock on the door. The neighbor would answer, but low and behold, no one was there. When the fishing line was pulled again and again, the poor neighbor couldn’t quite figure out where the sound was coming from.
Even though October 31st is known by many different names, it’s a time of year when warlocks, witches and the souls of the dead are set free to roam the earth. The hour before midnight is called the “witching hour” when our departed friends have a chance to return and walk among the living. In many parts of Scotland, it was customary to leave an empty chair and a plate of food for any “guests” who might appear. To this day, flames from Halloween bonfires can still be seen on the ramparts of ancient castles in Scotland.
In the past, the wee lads and lasses blackened their faces, pretending to be spirits. The custom traced back to a time when children could be disguised as spirits and walk among the dead that eve. Any child who approached a house would be given a token to ward off evil spirits.
In today’s world, turnips are no longer used as lanterns, pumpkins are now commonplace and children no longer have to blacken their faces to walk among the dead. Instead, they wear their first grade dance costume, don Goth boots, vampire fangs, and fake blood. Yep, the Roberts’ household was pretty awe-struck when our daughter pulled this one out of her arsenal.